Hacktivism has its roots in phone phreaking, hacking into the phone network to make prank calls, access corporate networks and generally just look around. When PCs started linking to the phone line for Internet access, this playful exploration transitioned to hacking.
Interestingly, the first mention of the word “hacker” in its modern context was in a 1963 MIT student newspaper article about students hacking the telephone system!
WikiLeaks is probably one of the most noteworthy examples of hacktivism. The editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, upholds the hacktivist credo of “information wants to be free” by allowing anonymous users to share information, footage, audio recordings, etc. with their dropbox for online consumption. Censorship is a method of maintaining traditional, hierarchical structures in society. WikiLeaks is one way of trying to collapse that hierarchy. Below is a visual interpretation of Assange’s censorship pyramid, his interpretation of the media landscape. Please note the emphasis on volume increase from the top down.
For more information on WikiLeaks check out this blog post from Lara Vickers!